You, Me, Things is part of a broader collection of works called YOMECI which explore listening and sounds as a form of play.
YOMECI began while Nguyen was completing her Master of Animation, Games and Interactivity, who said it was dream-like to have her work showcased at the Experimenta exhibition.
“When I started exploring sounds in 2017, my motivation was to do something with sound and something that was fun,” Nguyen said.
“I was an international student and I had no idea how commissions worked or how to apply for funding.
“Matt was my lecturer at the time and he could see the potential in the work I was doing, so he encouraged me to apply for a few commissions.”
Nguyen completed her Bachelor of Design (Digital Media) at RMIT Vietnam, including a cross-campus exchange to Melbourne in 2014.
She returned to Melbourne in 2017 to commence her Masters of Animation, Games and Interactivity and since graduating, is a sessional lecturer with RMIT.
In 2019, Riley and Nguyen approached MAGI lecturer Piantoni, an artist, designer and developer, to join their team and work on the YOMECI series.
Since then, the team have been working as a collective called Yomeci Play, collaborating on a string of projects in addition to You, Me, Things.
In 2019, Yomeciland was installed at Bunjil Place and the team have just completed another piece called You, Me, Sings – a web-based digital ‘music toy’ launching in April with the TarraWarra Museum of Art and Victoria Together.
You, Me, Things uses a sound recognition system powered by artificial intelligence to identify non-verbal and gestural sounds and then transforms the data into the world with ‘living’ digital entities.
The A.I technology was implemented by Nguyen’s brother and RMIT Vietnam alumnus, Duy Phuong Nguyen, who has just started his PhD at Princeton University.
The team also collaborated with sound designer Roderick Price on the project, who previously worked with them on Yomeciland x Bunjil Place.
Piantoni hopes the experience inspires users to reflect on other aspects of the world.
“The idea that what you put in is what you get out is inspired by the natural world,” Piantoni said.
“You give something to You, Me, Things in the sound you offer and it adds to the world, giving you something back in the creature it creates.
“That kind of playful relationship between the two of you is intertwined deeply and hopefully the users think of that in other parts of their life.”
Story: Caleb Scanlon